City Council looting traders – Chamber

Chairperson Chamber of Commerce Robert Pitia [C] Ajing Maker Opol Chairperson Civil Society Alliance [L] and Louis Sebur Loro Chairperson of chamber of commerce in Markas Jeran [R] speaking in a press conference/Photo: Taban Henry

By Taban Henry

The continuous imposition of high charges by the City Council Authorities is frustrating traders in Juba.

The traders who elevated their complaints to the Central Equatoria State Chamber of Commerce said the charges levied by the City Council were abnormal, leaving some businessmen to close their shops.

Addressing the media, Robert Pitia Francis, the chairperson of the Chamber of Commerce in Central Equatoria State said some traders have been charged to pay an amount ranging from 200,000 SSP to over 700,000 SSP.

“I went through the bylaws of the city council which indicate that the highest charges are supposed to be for the hotel owners with an amount of 75,000 SSP meanwhile the others range from 50,000 downwards. Now, we have people being penalized to pay an amount of 380,000 SSP, 200,000 SSP and others were charged 700,000 SSP of which they negotiated but he was supposed to pay 1,000,000 SSP. I don’t know whether the government is negotiating with the people to pay fines. Almost 10 people were to pay such amount” he revealed.

“Charges being imposed by the city council to the citizens is becoming a problem to our own traders including the foreign traders creating a scenario, where after seeing the city council, they end up closing their shops, end up running away while others end up increasing prices which caused suffering to our own citizens” Pitia said.

Pitia questioned the charges imposed on the traders, as it is not included in the law of Juba city council.

He said the increase in the prices of goods in the market has left other traders to close their shops. 

“Why are we charging our people much beyond the law being passed by the city council? In the law passed by the city council, it does not indicate the amount being imposed currently by the city council. This is just looting, they are looting our ordinary traders and at the end of the day the traders increase prices of goods in the market bringing suffering to our people” he said.

He called upon the committee formed by the state government to urgently intervene in the situation and the problems faced by the business people.

“The government and the city council is contributing to the prices increase in the main market. We want to bring this to the attention of the government because he has formed a committee. This committee should do their mandate so that we find something out of this issue since it is becoming too much”.

“The pressure the traders are having is too much. Traders are people who work for themselves, the city council should plan according to the taxes paid by the traders but not to bring burden to our own traders. They should not create a situation where our local traders fear entering the market to do business” said the chairperson of the chamber of commerce.

“I am urging all the institutions dealing with taxes to harmonize the taxes because it’s already too much if not we as the chamber of commerce shall go to court to tell us the option we can do. This is increasing problems to our own people who find their own way to survive. I hope the committee formed by the state governor should address the issue of taxes” he urged.

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